Transmembrane AMPA receptor regulatory proteins (TARPs) and cornichon proteins (CNIH-2/3) independently modulate AMPA receptor trafficking and gating. However, the potential for interactions of these subunits within an AMPA receptor complex is unknown. Here, we find that TARPs γ-4, γ-7, and γ-8, but not γ-2, γ-3, or γ-5, cause AMPA receptors to "resensitize" upon continued glutamate application. With γ-8, resensitization occurs with all GluA subunit combinations; however, γ-8-containing hippocampal neurons do not display resensitization. In recombinant systems, CNIH-2 abrogates γ-8-mediated resensitization and modifies AMPA receptor pharmacology and gating to match that of hippocampal neurons. In hippocampus, γ-8 and CNIH-2 associate in postsynaptic densities and CNIH-2 protein levels are markedly diminished in γ-8 knockout mice. Manipulating neuronal CNIH-2 levels modulates the electrophysiological properties of extrasynaptic and synaptic γ-8-containing AMPA receptors. Thus, γ-8 and CNIH-2 functionally interact with common hippocampal AMPA receptor complexes to modulate synergistically kinetics and pharmacology.
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